Coaching

Companies need more technical experts. Train them.

Oh, and earn very good money.

Every company wants to hire experts in the technologies that they need. But the rapid rate of technology makes this unfeasible. Instead, companies try to hire bright, motivated engineers — and then offer classes to those engineers, in order training budgets, specifically allocated to giving their engineers classes. These classes are meant to bring existing staff up to speed on essential technologies.

Nearly every company has a training budget, aimed at making their staffs more effective and efficient at what they do.

Who are these trainers? People like you and me — highly skilled engineers who use our skills to teach others to do what we do. We meet lots of interesting people, are constantly challenged, and make a very nice living. Oh, and we get the satisfaction of knowing that thanks to us, people gain skills and insights, and companies become more productive.

Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a trainer. But you have concerns:

  • You’ve heard that technical training can be personally, professionally, and financially rewarding — but you’ve never really spoken before an audience, let alone taught anything before.
  • A large high-tech company has invited you to give a four-day course on a subject you know well.  How do you structure the course? Where do you even begin?
  • You have offered training courses, and the feedback has been so-so. You enjoy being a trainer, but need to improve your game if you’re going to make it.
  • You understand technology cold, and are an amazing speaker — but the business side of training is completely foreign. What do I charge? How do I structure a deal? How do I approach companies?
  • A company has told me that they need a class in advanced widgetmaking, but I’m not sure if their staff is really advanced enough for such topics. What do I do?
  • You aren’t sure how to create exercises, how many to include in your courses, or how to run them — but you know that they’re a crucial part of any technical training.

If the above sounds familiar: You’re not alone.

The above questions are typical for anyone new to technical training. Actually, they’re the sorts of questions that even experienced trainers ask themselves, and one another, on a regular basis. That’s because training is itself a profession. You need to know a technical subject if you’re going to be a trainer — but you also need to know how to explain things to people, which means structuring your lectures and exercises in a certain way. Technical training is also a business; if you’re working for a training company, then they’ll take care of marketing, sales, contracts, and customer satisfaction. But if you’re working on your own, as I have done for many years, then you’ll need to take care of these things yourself. That’s not necessarily easy to learn, and can sometimes be more challenging than the technology.

Just because these questions are persistent and ubiquitous doesn’t mean that they’re hard to answer. I, and many other professional trainers, have thought about and answered these questions many times over our careers. I can help you to find the answers to your questions, and to develop a lucrative niche business that is booked solid months in advance — with courses that companies will want to book, and which developers will encourages their colleagues to order.

Work fewer hours.  Make more money.  And feel great about what you’re doing.

I can’t say this strongly enough: If you’re a good technical trainer, then you can earn a very good living — often better than many other consultants. Large high-tech companies will pay thousands of dollars per day for on-site training, and will often pay similarly for virtual training.

If you have a solid grasp of technology, and above-average teaching skills, then you can definitely make a great living as as technical trainer.

Imagine earning enough to work only one or two weeks each month.  Or flying to different locations around the world, teaching at locations of your choosing. Or earning far more than you do now. Or having time to work on your own personal SaaS applications or ebooks.  Or just spending more time with your family.

All of this is not only possible, but a reality, for the best technical trainers. Companies have already budgeted for such training, and are always looking for people who offer the best courses.

If you know how to prepare and deliver high-quality courses on the subjects that companies want, then you can work fewer hours, make more money, or both — and know that you’re helping engineers around the world to deepen their understanding of technology, and advancing their careers for years to come.

Who am I?

I’ve been a software developer since 1992, when I graduated with a degree in computer science from MIT.  My first job was at Hewlett Packard, and I remember all too well how nervous and flustered I got when I had to give a presentation to other members of my team. At my next job, as a Web developer at Time Warner in New York, I gave frequent presentations to other developers, and also to the editors of various Time Inc. magazines. As time went on, I became more comfortable giving such presentations, as well as teaching others what I was working on.

After opening my consulting practice in 1995, I was invited to train at several high-tech companies where I had consulted. As time went on, I started to give more and more such courses, as well as at conferences and user-group meetings. All the while, I was thinking about how people learn, and how I can better present and teach material to students — a curiosity that culminated in my PhD in learning sciences from Northwestern University.

Today, about 80 percent of my time is spent as a technical trainer. I have taught in Israel, China, Europe, and the United States, and currently specialize in Python, Git, PostgreSQL, and Ruby. I work with such multinational giants as Apple, Autodesk, Cisco, EMC, Ericsson, HP, PayPal, SANDisk, and VMWare. I enjoy my work, both because I find the teaching to be exciting and invigorating, and because I’m constantly approached by people who have taken my courses, and who tell me that I helped them do their jobs better. That’s a kind of satisfaction that is rare in general, and in the computer industry in particular — to know that you’re not just building a cool new widget, but that you’re helping people to improve their understanding, and advance their careers.

I am currently booked solid with training 3-6 months in advance, and I’m 50% booked one year in advance. I’m the top-ranked trainer in Cisco’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region, across all disciplines.  I feel good about the work I’m doing, and enjoy the freedom it gives me to work with my family — and to work on other projects, such as ebooks, SaaS projects, and personal hobbies.

I can help you to succeed.  You’ll have to work at it, but I’ll be here, encouraging and supporting you the entire time.  And in the end, you will be able to train successfully, either as part of your work or as a full-time job.

How my coaching program works

My coaching program is meant to help you become a better trainer. This means helping you to choose topics to teach, to create syllabi, to put together exercises, to improve your public speaking, and to handle the business side of things, such as proposals, contracts, and invoicing.

The program consists of several different parts, each of which reinforces the other. I’m aiming to balance personal interactions with me, along with the creation of a group whose members will encourage and help one another to improve. My goal is for everyone who works with me to become a highly paid and successful trainer.

This program is something new, and I thus expect it to change and improve over time. It’s a coaching program, not a course — but I do expect to treat certain parts of it as a course, including the preparation of written materials, meetings and Webinars, frequent discussion, and even group assignments.

Are you ready?

Are you ready to:

  • Draw upon your expertise, helping thousands of engineers around the world benefit from your knowledge?
  • Create compelling syllabi and exercises that large high-tech companies want to give to their employees?
  • Get paid like a high-tech consultant, without having to argue over scope or deadlines?
  • Learn how the training industry works, and how to pitch to some of the world’s largest companies?
  • Gain a large degree of financial and professional freedom?

Good.  Then you’re the sort of person I want to help succeed.

Will this really help me?

Yes, it will.  I have given advice to dozens of trainers over the years, and participate in a weekly podcast (“The Freelancers Show”) that helps independent consultants to think about the business of being an independent consultant. Many people interested in training have come to me, asking for advice — on how to structure their training, how to present in front of groups, or even how to approach companies that might be interested in training.

There is much greater demand for high-quality trainers than there is supply. So many of the people offering training today are either technically competent (but unable to teach), or excellent teachers (without the necessary technical background). If you’re able to prove yourself in both of these areas, then you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful career in technical training. My goal is to help you get there — and then continue to succeed and improve once you have done so.

My goal is to help you produce world-class courses that the largest and wealthiest companies will want to buy, again and again.

I’m bringing my practical experience as both a trainer and a consultant, and someone with a deep understanding of educational theory and practice, and will do whatever I can to help you succeed. You can do this. And together, we can do this.

100% Money-Back Guarantee!

Coaching is a very personal thing. and you need to have good chemistry with your coach. If we lack that chemistry, then that doesn’t mean either of us is wrong or a bad person — but we might be bad for each other. It’s also possible that you’re not a good candidate for my program at this point.

It doesn’t really matter, because I only want your money if you’re really satisfied and excited by the help and improvement you’re receiving. For this reason, I offer a money-back guarantee if you decide that my program isn’t for you within the first 30 days.

Pricing

My coaching program comes in three different variations, with the main difference between them being the number and types of private interactions we’ll have in a given month. And yes, the plan names are corny. My excellent sense of humor is just one of the many side benefits you’ll receive when in my coaching program.

When considering my coaching prices, remember that depending on where you live, companies pay between $1,500 and $6,000 per day of technical training. My aim is to help you to attain the skills you need, so that you can earn this amount on a regular basis.

Bachelor’s Plan (also appropriate if you’re married)

  • Initial two hour planning meeting
  • One hour-long videoconference per month
  • Full access to the chat system
  • Access to the goodies mentioned above, such as Webinars, the video club, and written materials
  • Price: $900 per month

Master Plan

  • Initial two-hour planning meeting
  • One hour-long videoconference per week
  • Full access to the chat system
  • Access to the goodies mentioned above, such as Webinars, the video club, and written materials
  • Price: $1,500 per month

PhD Plan

  • Initial two-hour planning meeting
  • One hour-long videoconference per week
  • Full access to the chat system
  • Access to the goodies mentioned above, such as Webinars, the video club, and written materials
  • Unlimited private electronic messaging with me
  • Price: $3,000 per month

Additional Details

The following details apply to all plans:

  • Participation in the program is month to month.
  • You pay at the beginning of each month.
  • You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel anytime.
  • The nature of this coaching program is that it’ll take time to see benefits, and for us to really hit a groove. Thus, I suggest that you plan on an initial commitment of three months, regardless of how long you actually expect to participate.

All plans include:

  • A two-hour introductory videoconference.  We’ll get to know each other — but more importantly, we’ll discuss where you are now as a trainer, where you want to go, and what steps we’ll take to get you there.  You might need to work on syllabi, or exercises, or business proposals, or your public speaking; we’ll discuss all of the possibilities, and create a plan of attack.
  • Regular telephone updates. We will, one or more times per month (depending on the plan you choose) have a one-hour phone meeting, in which we’ll discuss where you stand, and how you can improve. I’ll assign you homework at the end of each session, and the start of each following session will revolve around the results (or lack thereof) that came from your homework. The fact that you’ll need to report to me on a regular basis about your progress will ensure that you’re moving forward, and always improving.
  • Access to a private chat system. All of the participants in my coaching program will have full, unlimited access to  a Slack channel, Discourse forum, or both (I’m still working out the details). The chat will give us a chance to flesh out ideas, bounce thoughts off of one another, and ask questions that only other trainers might know how to answer. I’ll use the chat as much as possible to answer questions, so that we can share them with one another, and all benefit
  • Private messages: If you sign up for the most comprehensive plan, then you may send me unlimited private messages (i.e., not just public messages via the chat system). I’ll respond to all such messages within 24 hours, assuming that I’m not traveling. Even if we’re not talking on the phone all of the time, we’ll still be able to exchange ideas.
  • Webinars. I plan to host occasional Webinars about teaching, training, and how you (we) can improve. I’ll demonstrate successes (and failures) from my own training career, and will invite you to suggest ways that we can all improve. I’ll also introduce you to some of the latest educational techniques that have been demonstrated to work, and theories that can help to improve our teaching.
  • Video club. Research has shown that math teachers who watch each other teach, and then critique one another, have better classroom results. We’ll try to set up video clubs — pairs and triplets of trainers who will watch each other (in 10-15 minute segments), and suggest ways in which we can improve. I might (gulp!) even subject some of my own teaching for review, since there’s room for all of us to improve. And of course, better to receive tough feedback from peers than from clients paying for training!  I’ll similarly encourage everyone to use the chat system to share syllabi and exercises as well, so that we can review and help one another to improve those. (It goes without saying that materials shared will remain your own property.)
  • Written materials. I am in the very early stages of writing an ebook for technical trainers — describing everything from educational theories that trainers can and should incorporate, to the process of creating and delivering a course, to the business aspects of being a professional trainer. How soon this ebook will be ready is anyone’s guess, but as I write and edit it, members of my coaching program will be the first to see and review it, and (of course) to provide feedback.
  • Guests. I also hope and intend to invite guests to participate in our coaching program, either in occasional Webinars or in our chat system. Again, the details are still being worked out, but this would give us a chance to speak with people who train for a living, and get their perspectives on how they go about their business.

My aim is for people to have access to the chat system for a period of time after they are  active members of my coaching program. My current thoughts are that for every n months in the coaching program, you can use the chat system for n/2 months afterward. The aim here is to encourage people of varying levels to exchange ideas, and to learn from one another — and having expert, experienced trainers around with whom we can discuss things will be invaluable.

Apply now

If you’re interested in becoming a high-quality technical trainer, then my program will almost certainly help you. But there are definitely people who aren’t a good fit. For that reason, I ask that you send me e-mail about yourself, at reuven@lerner.co.il, answering the following questions:

  • What is your technical background?
  • What (if any) training have you done in the past? This includes speaking to user groups, at conferences, in-house courses you’ve offered, and for-pay technical training.
  • Have you trained through an agency, on your own, or both?
  • What subject(s) do you currently train in? What subject(s) do you want to train in?
  • How strong (or weak) are you in the following:
    • Planning a course curriculum
    • Presentation skills
    • Encouraging your students to participate
    • Creating exercises
    • Setting learning goals
    • Running a training business

If you have any initial questions for me, then please let me know.  I’m expecting things to change based on feedback, so if something is missing from the above descriptions, or if an additional resource might be helpful, then I would love to hear about it.

Once I receive e-mail from you, I’ll respond (probably within 24 hours). We can flesh out a few more details, and then schedule our 2-hour kickoff meeting.

I look forward to speaking with you soon!